Everyone needs a stylist: part 1

men need stylist tooSome people think it’s somehow negative to hire a personal stylist.  That they’re admitting that they don’t know how to dress or that they don’t look ‘quite right’. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a number of very positive reasons that people hire me as their personal stylist, and one of the most important is that I offer honesty and objectivity.

working hard as a stylistWe all have far too many clothes (me included), and we often have emotional attachments to them. Sometimes these emotional attachments are valid, but sometimes they are unnecessary (and can hold you back).  With so many clothes, often people can’t see the wood for the trees: it’s difficult to be objective and honest with yourself when your wardrobe is full to overflowing.  This is where a personal stylist like me can help.

And here’s something really interesting that I’ve discovered working with clients and observing people’s behaviour: sometimes our partners/best friends/spouses aren’t completely truthful about what suits us or what we should be buying.  I’ve witnessed more than one example of someone persuading his or her partner/friend not to buy something, even though that item looked great and he or she loved it.

lucy needs a stylistWhen you hire me, you get honesty and objectivity, built on a solid foundation of trust.  With my objective, non-emotional eye, I can help you:

  • make decisions about clothing that you may be having doubts about
  • get a clearer picture of your ‘style identity’, whatever that may be
  • recognise if your existing wardrobe is helping or hindering you in reaching your goals

But don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s what Katharine says:  I was hesitant to ask for help – surely by now I should know what suits me.  After all, I would be admitting to some shortcomings on my part. Wow, what a difference Samantha makes.  She makes you feel comfortable with your own style and guarantees you outfits that you have not thought of before. She offers ideas, recommendations and suggestions with integrity and honesty… I felt stylish, inspired and organised!   At a recent interview, I was easily the best dressed and it gave me more presence than the others.  I got the job…

Contact me today if you’d like to benefit from some honest and objective style advice.

creating gap list 2

Democracy and high heels: the next steps…

democracy and heelsYou may not know this, but I have another great passion besides clothes – British politics.  And no, these two are not mutually exclusive.  Just because you love fashion and care about looking good does not mean that you don’t care about serious issues too.  But I digress.  I love it when our political system actually works and democracy is fully evident.  Tomorrow, of course, is a big day for democracy (no matter which side of the debate you are on) with the EU Referendum vote taking place.

ES re heels rowIn another example of democracy in action, Nicola Thorp’s parliamentary petition on making it illegal to wear high heels at work (which has over 142,000 signatures) has now been allocated inquiry time by the Commons Petitions Committee.  Any petition over 100,000 signatures is granted parliamentary time.

You may remember that Ms Thorp was the temporary receptionist sent home for not wearing shoes with the required ‘two to four inch heel’.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (who she was temping for) have since issued an honest statement expressing their embarrassment about the situation and the steps they are taking to rectify it.  Interestingly, Portico the agency in question, have been suspiciously silent on the issue.

high heelsMs Thorp was wearing shoes that were perfectly adequate for an office environment.  It begs the question, why can’t women be seen as smart and professional wearing flat shoes?  Of course, they can, and I believe every woman has an ‘ideal’ heel height – it’s just a matter of finding it.  With so many heel styles and height options available these days, there’s an option that will work for almost any woman in almost any work environment (see my blog post on wearable heels for more on this topic).

The Petitions Committee will examine the issue and hear oral evidence from witnesses, working with the Women and Equalities Committee.  Unfortunately the deadline for public comments has passed but click here to see the comments and experiences other women have shared.   And check back on this page for dates and details of the oral sessions.

Have you ever been forced to wear high heels at work?


How to dress for networking

I delivered a training session this week to a group of entrepreneurs on how to dress for networking.  It was a highly interactive session that prompted loads of questions and discussion, and I was struck by how many people struggle with deciding how to present themselves for networking events.

Preparation is everything

First of all (and I’ve said this before) dressing well for an important occasion (whether that’s networking, a job interview or new client meeting) requires preparation.  Putting in the prep will ensure you look your best, and give you the confidence to face any gathering with ease.   Is your suit clean ?  Do your shoes need reheeling?  Are you missing the ‘right’ top or tights ?  We all know that business is stressful enough – let’s take any last-minute clothing stress out of the equation.

Venue, format, grooming

Other points to keep in mind:

  1. Consider the venue, time of day and format of the event.  If you’re going to be standing around at an evening drinks event you may not want to wear your highest heels.  Likewise, you don’t want to be dressed to the nines for a casual coffee-shop environment
  2. Your mantra should be ‘smart, professional, appropriate’.  Always.  Don’t undermine your professional expertise by revealing too much flesh or wearing sportswear (unless that’s your business, of course)
  3. Pay attention your grooming, particularly your hair, teeth and nails.  It’s astonishing how many people neglect these small details

Remember that what you wear speaks volumes about your lifestyle and status, and you certainly want to ensure that it is sending the right messages when you’re dressing for a networking event.  If you’d like further advice, contact me for a free, no-obligation 15 minute consultation.

dress for networking


I was a lingerie model for a day

‘I studied at Chelsea College and weave romantic stories into silk treasures featuring my hand drawings and embroidery.  Growing up near the South Downs, I have always been inspired by the British countryside and my love for the outdoors and heritage can be found within my brush strokes.’ – StephieAnn Woolven

StephieAnn Woolven is a young textile designer who has recently launched her own lingerie business. Stephie asked me to participate in a photoshoot for her next collection, as she was keen to have a ‘real’ woman as well as a professional model. How could I refuse ?

IMG_2074We spent a sunny May day at a beautiful house in Storrington, on the edge of the Sussex Downs.  Makeup artist Jade Victoria worked her magic on our faces and hair, getting us photo ready.

I got to model Stephie Ann’s beautiful lingerie including silk camisoles, lounge pants and scarves.  It was really fun – and also scary as, let’s face it, I am 49 years old and not a professional !  The other model, gorgeous Amy Neville (find her on Instagram at @amynevfashiondiaries) is half my age and is a professional, and it was great to watch her work.

Sam Pansy Cami Low ResPansy Camisole £85One of the pieces I wore was the ‘Pansy’ camisole (pictured left, and worn with a denim jacket, right) from Stephie’s Hammer Through Daisies collection from S/S16 – it’s a classic style and is currently her best selling product.  The print is on a silver grey background with royal blue flowers created from Stephie’s drawings and photography.  The photos for the pattern were taken with a blurred 3-D effect, so there’s lots of movement in the print.


Midnight Jeans2low resI also wore several pieces from her Autumn Winter 2017 collection, which is not yet available on her website, so you’re getting a sneak preview !  The collection is called That Tender Light, from the poem ‘As She Walks in Beauty’ by Lord Byron.  Pictured here is the ‘Midnight’ camisole worn simply with my own jeans.

I couldn’t believe how exhausting the day was !  Even though there was lots of waiting around between shots, it was an incredibly intense process.  It was such a treat to have professional photos taken, and have my hair and makeup done – and it was incredibly flattering to be asked to participate.

More information about Stephie and her collection are available at www.stephieanndesign.com

Hair and makeup by Jade Victoria

Photography by Klicka

Sam eve PJs low res_croppedSam Rose Scarf




Semple dresses: quality, elegance and simplicity

‘Many other women shared my vision of finding the dream dress.  Yet finding well cut dresses, made from exquisite fabrics, that are sized and priced appropriately can often be hard to find’ – Maggie Semple

Images courtesy of Maggie Semple Ltd.

MaggieSemple_permission to use for blogI recently wrote about an evening with Maggie Semple, and last week I had the pleasure of being invited back to her atelier to take a closer look at her dress collection and to find out more about what inspires her.  Maggie’s client is the discerning professional woman, who is looking for quality, elegance and simplicity.

The Semple Collection is a range of beautifully made shift dresses made with the finest Italian natural fabrics including wools, cottons, silks and linens.  The dresses exude elegance, and can be made to measure with your own custom colourful, bespoke touches, or bought ready to wear.

Maggie Dress MTM_1There are two original shift dress styles: 1) the Ophelia, with a round neck and short sleeves, and 2) the Bianca, which is short sleeved with a button detail. However, each dress can be tailored to the individual client in terms of sleeve style and length and neck line.  You are invited to choose from a range of hand picked fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns.  To make the dress extra special, you can also choose a contrasting coloured lining (in 100% cupro – there’s absolutely no polyester) to add another individual touch.

Maggie Dress RTW_2All of the dresses are made on the premises.  It takes twenty hours to go from the initial client consultation through to measurement and the final fitting.  Clients include athlete Tessa Sanderson (who was featured in Hello! Magazine this month wearing her made to measure fuchsia dress) and opera singer Katerina Mina

When choosing a Maggie Semple dress, you’re not just ‘buying a dress’ – it’s a full experience.  And like Maggie herself, the dresses are elegant, vibrant and unique.  Find out more here.